Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.
Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)
Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)
Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains
Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away
Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains
A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right
Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains
Life(?) of Trillian
Saturday, December 11, 2004 Trillian's Annual Holiday Shopping Guide "Amazon is just another Wal Mart."
"Amazon takes money away from small, independent businesses."
"Eh, there's nothing at Amazon, it's so mainstream."
True on the first two, but as for the third, guess again. This ain't your father's Amazon. Amazon has responded to their customer suggestions, complaints and surveys and are now offering a very wide range of more obscure items. They're not promoting these things on their home pages or daily features, but if you know what you want, check Amazon because they probably have it (or a link to someone who has it). Also, don't be afraid to click on their links in the description pages of other items. You may stumble upon something you didn't know you needed or the perfect gift. And best of all, it pains me to admit this, their pricing is as good or better than you will find in stores. And then there's the sales tax. Oh the dreaded sales tax. In Illinios, and in more particularly, the City of Chicago, that sales tax can push the cost of an item over the "I don't like her that much catagory." Amazon? No sales tax. Yet.
I know, I know, this is just another form of WalMarting, I've been fighting it, too, and I do feel guilty about it. But this year I gave in - my economics are in bad shape, I have zero time for shopping, and Amazon's got some great stuff. I gave in and gave up and admitted defeat: Why would I be jostled around by crowds, be treated condescendingly (or worse) by snooty, bored, cooler-than-thou staff a the quaint and hip little boutiques down the street which are only open 11 AM - 6 PM Tuesday - Saturday when I can shop at 2 AM in my bedroom and find the same stuff for at least half the price?
To keep the quaint shops in business is the obvious answer. But there's a point where someone else's right to free enterprise is not my financial burden. If I pay double (or more) for an item at that quaint little shop or boutique down the street, are they going to return the favor by buying a week's worth of train fare and cat food (an example the recent savings I discovered on one item) for me? No? Right. Sorry, small business owners, I really am, I've stood behind you for all my product consuming years, but times are hard for me, too. If I can save at least half the price on the same item, I'm going to buy it from Amazon.
Here are a few reasons why (and a few gift giving ideas if you're having a hard time shopping this year)
One of the indisputably best movies ever made, Bladerunner, on DVD for $7.99. Just grab it. You'll end up needing a gift for someone and this will make almost anyone happy. Sure, it's the director's cut. So what? It's $7.99.
Calendars, in general, say: I have no clue what to get you, I have no clue what you like, need or want. So I got you this calendar. I know no one really uses them anymore, what with computers and everything, and most people get planning calendars at the office, but like I said, I have no clue what to get you, so here's a nice calendar featuring a different Llama every month.
The exception is if you know a person's particular interest and you chance upon a well made (sturdy paper, quality print job, convenient size) calendar featuring photos or art or whatever of a person's particular interest then it's okay to proceed with the purchase.
I've seen some good ones this year:
Every heterosexual male on your list, who is not blind, will like this one:
Hula Honeys - featuring retro Hawaiian art of, well, Hula Honeys. This is one time where the suggestive girls really are artistically done. (I'm a woman, hear me roar, and I would not be offended, embarrassed or ashamed to have this calendar hanging in my home, and no that's not a hint, I do not actually want one, I'm just making the point that it's not offensive.) There is also a Hula Honeys postcard box which would be a nice compliment with the calendar if you're into theme gifts - Amazon will get you the calendar and postcards for under $20.
If you have a Hawaii/travel/vintage ad enthusiast on your list, you should check out Waikiki.com (I'm especially fond of the Frank Macintosh posters) It's not all naked and coconut bra and grass skirt wearing women and lava eruptions, though, there's fun for the girls, too, check out Gill's Fisherman.)
I'm not big on ...-a-Day calendars.
But. These take the concept to another level which makes them a worthwhile under $10 investment and "fun" gift. Each day the page is ripped off and folded into a paper airplane or origami creation. Finally, the ...A-Day calendar folks are giving back to the community.
Nit pickers, editors and 10 year-old boys will love the Fact or Crap-A-Day calendar, yes, the game is now in ...A-Day format - give this only if you are prepared and able to deal with a year of being barraged with tests of trivial knowledge.
Gifts under $20
Kurasawa's Dreams on DVD, $14.99. This is a great gift. A lot of people haven't seen it, a lot of people have it on their "to rent" list but never do, a lot of people have seen it and love it and would love to see it again. It helps if the giftee has an artistic, thoughtful or sensitive bent to their personality, but even the most pedestrian or Neanderthallic will find themselves sucked in by the visuals. This is a "safe" gift for the office or family grab bag, it might puzzle a few people ("What the heck is this? I've never heard of it. Who's Kurasawa? Scorsese's in it? Is it about the Mob? What, they were out of The Bourne Supremacy?") but if they bother to watch it they will thank you for the experience or at least comment favorably about your ability to find a truly different gift. Be warned, it's something people won't be expecting, and might not get around to watching until March. It doesn't mean it's a bad gift or you're a bad gifter.
Greg the Bunny - entire series on DVD. If you missed Greg during his short-lived run on Fox (thanks, American Idol Simon and Co, may you rot in a heavy metal Hell for this and other crimes of culture) you're in for a treat. If you caught an episode or two and thought you must have dreamed it because all you could find a few weeks later was American Idol, you're in for a treat. Greg, a bunny, and a puppet, lives with his human friend, Jimmy (Seth Green) who is the son of a network children's program producer (Eugene Levy). Greg and Jimmy finagle their way into positions at the network (Greg: Star of the show, Jimmy: a PA) and the madcap hilarity ensues. Greg began his career on the IFC, and the DVD has those clips as well as commentary and missing episodes. Think you know everything about Greg? Have you seen him doing a live cat in the shower? Didn't think so. Buy this for yourself or a gift for your best buddy or college aged niece or nephew.
Very Naughty Origami Just trust me on this one. If you loved last year's Pop-Up Kama Sutra, Very Naughty Origami is the book for you. This might be a nice go-with the origami a day calendar. You can also get Pornogami, bundled with Very Naughty Origami.
Here's an idea which can be a really, really super thoughtful gift. Get one of these record album frames for $10. That's the easy part. The next thing you have to do is figure out what the giftee's favorite band/album is. Of course this would mean the giftee has to like a band/album that pre-dates CDs. Then you have to chase down a copy of the vinyl album. Fortunately Amazon can help you out with that, too. They've got loads of used record resources. Since you're framing the album, the condition of the record isn't such a big deal and you can probably score a cheap copy. Beach Boys Pet Sounds is a great LP, by the way, a quick search found several good condition LPs. Album cover suggestions: Dark Side of the Moon is a stoner classic, Rush's Moving Pictures for all your Canadian/Stoner friends, Good-bye Yellow Brick Road is an amazing double LP crammed with great 70s art, Alice Cooper's School's Out is very cool, Kiss' Love Gun, Rolling Stones Flowers are classics. You can also take a trip to your local used record store/flea market and flip through the bins of old LPs. Many of the covers from the 60s are just plain weird and funny, you're bound to find something appropriate for your giftee. Happy hunting.
Who doesn't love the mindless trippy zen of Spirographing? No one. Everyone loves Spirographing. Everyone. It makes everyone feel artistic and it's great therapy and if everyone in the world had a Spirograph set we would have world peace. The new Spirograph sets, I'm sad to say, are not great. Hasbro's got some work to do on these. However, there is a really good book, a Spirograph to go set, if you will, which is great. If you haven't Spirographed since you were a kid, try it again! Try it under the influence of alcohol! Safe and fun for all ages.
I had a bad Lite Brite experience as a young child, so I'm not really down with Lite Brite. They swutting freak me out, okay? But. Other people, people who are psychologically well adjusted, love Lite Brite. The cool thing about Lite Brite is you can make any design you want, so you can spell out or design anything and have it lite up a room. Just keep that freaky lit up clown face far away from me and no one gets hurt.
Games are always a fun gift, no one thinks they want or need them, but everyone is generally happy to receive them as a gift. Stick with the classics. Mastermind is loved by many, always a popular gift, as are Battleship, Operation (love the new Shrek edition ) and Risk.
For the women on your list:
Amazon's dealing Lush products! AMAZON'S DEALING LUSH PRODUCTS! AMAZON'S DEALING LUSH!!!!!! DID YOU HEAR ME? AMAZON'S DEALING LUSH!!!! Guys, the women in your life will really, really, really be happy with a gift from Lush. I do not know one woman, not one who wouldn't love anything from the Lush line. The products are relatively inexpensive so you can get a few products and not break the budget. Girls, if you are not familiar with Lush, allow me to introduce you: Prepare to be forever changed. There are products for guys, too, Prince Triple Blossom Shaving Cream will tame your beard and leave you smooth and kissy cuddley ready. Really thick beard? Try Razorantium
Amazon is also dealing Philosophy and, Great Deal-O-Matic: Purchase $100 or more Philosophy products via Amazon and receive a $30 certificate redeemable on Amazon for anything. None of the retailers in the mall or high street are going to give you $30 to spend on Amazon.
Frownies Yes. They really work. Trust me on this, too. If you are a guy, you are not allowed to give them to your girlfriend or wife. She will a) break-up with/divorce you, b) cry, c) never, ever let you forget about the year you gave her Frownies for Christmas. However. Girls will appreciate this gift if given by a close friend. DO NOT GIVE THESE AS A GIFT TO A WOMAN WHOM YOU DO NOT KNOW WELL ENOUGH TO ADMIT/SAY, "HAVE YOU EVER TRIED THOSE FROWNIES THINGS? DO YOU SUPPOSE THEY WORK?" If you have such a friend, a good friend, a good girly girl friend, then by all means, get these and gift with pride. (Your mum will love them, too, but guys, you are not allowed to give them to your mum, either. These are girl to girl gift.) You might want to throw in a nice candle or lush product, too. These are also a great gift for the office scrooge. However, if the office Scrooge signs your paycheck, proceed with caution. (Fun office hijinx suggestion: Buy a box and pass it around the office. Whenever someone is being the office wet rag, anonymously place the Frownies on their desk. It stays there until someone else is a wetter rag and they are then passed on to that person.)
Red Devil Rubber Duck Ducky Duckie I Rub My Duckie"It's not the beak, it's the motion."
Yes. Amazon has "personal massage items." A lot of them. I'll let you do your own key word searching. But. Amazon's got Red Devil Duck for $24.95, much cheaper than I've seen him other places. Not that I've looked for him in a lot of places, mind you.
"Hmmm. That's all very interesting. But I like to give fruitcake. Fruitcake is a nice, thoughtful gift." Of course it is. And Amazon's got you covered with the best fruitcake there is: I love fruitcake, and this is the best I've had. Be quiet. I really do love the stuff. $19.99 for 2lbs is a steal. This stuff is expensive.
"Sure, Trill, those are all nice gifts. But my girl/roommate/sister's more fly than all that." No problem! Got someone on your list who likes a little bling bling? Fear not. Amazon's here to save the day. No need to troll the discount flea markets. You can bling out from the comfort of your own home. Sure to please is a personalized rhinestone belt buckle. Spell out anything your blingy will like, under 9 characters. Sort of like figuring out a vanity license plate. FLY GIRL, 2HOT4U, QT, HOTDOTCUM, H2G2, DORKONBRD. That's a lotta bling for not much cha ching. I'm hoping Santa will bring me a rhinestoned SWUT to adorn my sparkle hipster jeans. Phat!
"My friend/sibling/roommate is a style guru. I'm intimidated shopping for her/him. S/he's got such good and specific taste. I want to buy her/him something s/he'll really like, something different, an 'oh wow, I've wanted this' gift. But I'm not a style guru and I have no idea what to buy her/him." Relax. Let me give you a few ideas: Blik makes super cool wall decals. Yes. I said wall decals. But these are not My Little Pony of days of yore. (Though those are cool in a retro is new kind of way) Blik decals are completely removable and repositionable. They've got all sorts of patterns and colors. From huge dots to lines to my favorite (of course) Space Invaders. (I'm loving the reindeer and snowflakes.) Or, put a George Nelson ball or sunburst clock under the tree and watch your style cred soar. Sure, they're expensive. No one said style is cheap. You wanted to give your style guru person an 'oh wow, I've wanted this' gift - well, 'oh wow I've wanted this' gifts for style gurus don't come from IKEA or Target. George Nelson is not Michael Graves or Todd Oldham. You want to hang with style gurus, you've got to pay the price. Okay, okay, fine, for under $50 Groovetube's are a cool, stylish gift. Amazon doesn't have them, so here. Or, for $14.95 Amazon's got that really cool Eames stationery. You're style guru friends will also appreciate the timeless classic style of Spirograph.
Good for Gran: (or anyone else who has difficulty opening jars) This thing is really cool. I don't personally have trouble opening jars. But. I have some senior relatives who do. This has been a hit with them. Even my non-gadget eager aunt loves this. $32, no sales tax, free shipping. Sold. Throw in a box of ribbon candy she'll love it. She might even offer you a piece. Gran might really love a Spirograph.
Men: You need Anthony. You just don't know it. So maybe your woman will grace you with this gift. $50 worth of grooming goodies. If you're a guy and you're saying, "ewww, I'd rather have that Sports Illustrated bloopers DVD instead." Grow up you big baby. Treat yourself to real grooming products. If you've never ventured beyond Gilette, try this and feel and see the difference. You're an adult now. Behave and shave like one. You can thank me later.
For the Diptyque o philes, Amazon has a few candles for around $48 each, a slight savings, particularly without the sales tax. (few illumecandles.com has a better selection...)
Pink Panther. Peter Sellers. Shag. Yeah, baby. The cat's back and he's packing style. This DVD box set is worth every penny of the $52.47. Target's got it a bit cheaper, but factor in the tax and you're over $52.47 in many states. The movies speak for themselves. The set also contains some of the cartoons (the Aardvark, too) and loads of commentary and trivia. And Shag packaging is super cool. You'll love it. Your parents will love it. Your hard to buy for aunt will love it.
Amazon is now handling magazine subscriptions, which is especially handy if you like difficult to find/expensive magazines from other countries. I'm talking zines beyond Harpers and Der Spiegel (Which you can get on Amazon for $310/year).
Uncut: Like music? I mean really like music? Forget Spin, Blender, Rolling Stone. Uncut.
On the less expensive end of the subscription scale is Paste Paste, 6 issues for $26.95. And each issue has a CD/DVD.
For the guys on your list:
A subscription to Bizarre magazine. Be careful with this, be sure the guy you are gifting with this monthly dose of, well, bizarre articles and photos, will be pleased to receive it. It's loosely devoted to fetishes, but, well, it's more than that. Or less. Or something. It's bizarre.
My shopping's done - tax free, free shipping and done in one stop at 2 AM. Need any more suggestions? Send me an email, I'm happy to be your personal gift idea person. Just another service we here at Life(?) of Trillian are proud and happy to offer. Might I interest you in a slightly used book?
Friday, December 10, 2004 Well heeled, well read and alone.
I'd like to take a moment to proudly proclaim to the world: In spite of online evidence to the contrary, I own more books than shoes.
Words alone cannot express the enormous relief I feel about that fact.
Because I was concerned.
I knew pair-wise there was no way I had more shoes that books.
But. Counting actual shoes, doubling the shoe count, gave me pause to wonder... (I'm not counting the one lone boot whose mate was stolen from my office two years ago because I am finally going to get rid of it. Yes. Finally I have accepted that it's mate is not coming back.)
I mean, I knew there was no way the shoe count could be anywhere near the book count. But still. The mere fact that there could be any pause to question the shoe:book ratio worried me. Because I'm not one of those girls, the girls with the shoe:book ratio skewed heavily on the shoe side.
I've always been bookish. Well heeled, but bookish. This has alternately pleased and bothered me over the course of my life. Five year old cute, curious, eyes of wonder Stride Rite wearing Trillian: "I love books! Reading is fun! Read me another story Mummy! No wait, let me read you a story!" (big squeals of delight); 10 year old, not so cute anymore, outcast, showing signs of social awkwardness track shoe wearing Trillian: "I didn't want to go to Julie's dumb party anyway. I'd rather read." (first sigh of disillusionment) Teenaged, gawky, ugly, orthodonticized Bally loafer wearing Trillian: "Why can't I be pretty instead of smart? Julie's not sitting home on Saturday night reading. Bitch. I'll show her. Just wait. Someday she'll be sorry she spent more time with boys than studying." (Sardonic slightly evil smile through wired teeth.); College sophomore, ugly punk art student Chuck Taylor All Star wearing Trillian: "How can you possibly discuss or understand Giacometti without having first thoroughly read Sartre's Being and Nothingness?" (I know. But shockingly, this was one time in my life when I was popular and had men eating out of my hand. Go figure. I can only assume a) all university aged boys are so desperate and horny they'll pay attention to any girl, no matter how obnoxious and ugly and b) all university aged girls are attractive to men no matter how obnoxious and ugly they are.) Grad school over "that" phase working a post punk ugly-chic look dating bona fide rock star and hanging out at better grade of bars biker boot wearing Trillian: "Schwut? Djew shay shomfing?" (hey. The liquor was free, the table was always the best, the guy was cool and handsome and don't try to tell me you would have done anything differently.) Grad school and now working girl Enzo wearing Trillian: "I wish I had more time to read, this is a really interesting treatise on the marketing and culture problem." (Fully developed sigh of disillusionment and despair over not having enough hours to work, attend grad school and read, too, wishing she'd spent less time with bona fide rock star boyfriend and more time reading when she had the chance.) Working on yet another degree at yet another job realizing she's had a bit of a dry spell since the break up with bona fide rock star boyfriend and work and grad school tired, ugly, Pliner wearing Trillian: "Books are my friends. I love reading. I don't need a man in my life. A man would only demand time and get in my way of reading everything I want to read and finishing my degree and being the woman I want to be." (Sardonic smile of empowerment fades to downcast look of sorrow.) Dating the love of her life and never been happier the world is beautiful and so am I Blahnik shod Trillian: "So what if he lives in another country and 6,000 miles across the entire Atlantic Ocean? He's wonderful and funny and smart and clever and sarcastic and he gets me and I love him and he loves me and besides I've got a lot of reading I want to catch up on anyway!" (The battle cry of everyone in a long distance relationship.) Ugly, tired, disillusioned, sad, lonely, brokenhearted bunny slippered Trillian: "Books. Books and reading. My entire swutting life has been a bi polar affair with books. And here I am again, alone with my books. I wonder what Julie's doing these days..." (I know. I really, really need to get some professional help with the Julie issue. But you don't know her, okay? You aren't me. You don't know how horrible she was to me. You don't know what it's like to be shuffled between two countries and schools and be two years younger than all the other kids in your class at school and all the other girls are growing breasts and care about boys for something other than hockey and the boys like them for reasons other than their rink prowess and realizing that being the smart one of the class isn't actually a good thing and having to sit alone at lunch and not being invited to a boy girl party because you're younger and a geek is really hard, okay? And she was a total bitch and a slut, too. She and Reneé were the meanest girls ever. Oh, and that tart of a cousin of hers, Beth. Counseling? Yeah? Counsel this.)
Ahem. I'm sure I am better read than Julie, Reneé and Beth combined. And I'm sure they think of me as being better read then they are but they don't think of that in the complimentary terms I am choosing to think of it.
I am also sure I have better shoes than Julie. Julie was never long on taste. She was the type to like things based purely on their price tag. By the time we were teenagers there were rumors about what Julie and Reneé would do for gifts. The more expensive the gift, the more/longer/different the act. Sort of like those crapalogs you get at work with different levels of gifts to choose from based on your years of service.
I also know I have a better shoe:book ratio than Julie. That alone is satisfaction enough for me. But. Those shoes. All those shoes. Do I have a problem? Is there something missing in my life, a void I am trying to fill with shoes? The books, all the books, well, duh, yes, obviously I've been filling many and varied voids with those books. I don't need counseling on that issue.
But the shoes. It's just gross excessive consumption, which is generally not my thing. Oh sure, they make me happy, I enjoy them, but is there something more going on there?
So, Ms. McMillian, how long have you been drawn to shoes? Think back, long ago, to your childhood. What is your first memory of shoes?
Well, I remember when I was young, I must have been around three-years-old and I had these brown shoes and they were sort of like closed toe sandals...
Sandals. Let's explore sandals.
Erm, well, they were sort of like sandals only not because they had closed toes. They had a strap across the top and little holes arranged in a pattern on top.
Pattern. Let's explore the pattern.
Um. The pattern. Like on my dad's wing tips. Sort of. Only different. No swirly lines of holes.
Your father, eh? Let's explore your father.
I have loads more books than shoes. I'm okay. This fact has me holding my head a little higher. Because I know there are women out there, many women out there, for whom the shoe:book ratio is obviously skewed in the opposite direction as mine. Julie, for instance. Paris Hilton. Men, these are the women you want to avoid if you're seeking a long term relationship. That is unless you like a woman with more shoes than substance. (A soppy tart who will drop and give you and every other man in the room 20 if you dangle a trip to Neiman's in front of her.) These are the prima donna, live for shoes women you think we all are. Well. You think some of us are. Some of us who photograph their shoes every day.
However. You can't just blanket dismiss every woman with a skewed shoe:book ratio. She might be very well read and stylish without owning many books. She might borrow all the books she reads from the library or read books online. So you'll have to ask a few questions before eliminating her from any aspect of your life other than well heeled arm candy or fetish fulfillment. "Have you read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time?" you might ask.
"No, I haven't. Is it good?" she might respond.
"Yes, I found it to be a thought provoking story with a creative take on the subject of Autism. Mark Haddon knows his stuff and makes strong points without preaching to the reader or being condescending to the Autistic and does so with a wit which is not trite or mean spirited," you might reply.
"What's Autism?" she might say, dangling a coy Prada mule from her toe, trying to cover her ignorance with cute seduction.
Gentlemen, you've got a non-reader on your hands. Proceed with caution if you enjoy conversations about things other than shoes and like to spend your Saturday afternoons doing things other than shoe shopping.
Or she might say, "Is it like Flowers for Algernon or Speed of Dark?" You can now sit back and enjoy time with your skewed shoe:book ratio woman safe in the knowledge that at some point in her life she has read a book and is able to grasp lateral concepts, reason and respond to something beyond a shoe sale or the latest Bruno Maglis. She probably does enjoy a good shoe sale and the latest Bruno Maglis, but she is not one dimensional in her thought process. Consider her high shoe quotient akin to your obsessive need to memorize endless, useless sports statistics. (Speaking of Autism.) Just a little quirk in her personality, just a harmless little thing she enjoys.
I am not going to reveal my, ahem, numbers, but let's just say even if I stopped acquiring books right now, I've got a lot of shoes to buy before I'm in any danger of sending the wrong message in regard to my shoe:book ratio.
Which made me wonder: Is it possible to read too much? I have spent my entire life absorbing ideas and visions and other points of view out of books, to the point of losing myself in them. Consequently I have difficulty imagining anyone not wanting to read.
Oh sure, we all know I have a little word issue, all these words uncontrollably spilling out of me. Naturally I like to read other peoples' words. I like words. Words are fun. Words can be put together to form sentences which contain a noun and a verb. Subject and action. Right there in one sentence. Sentences can be put together to form paragraphs. A bunch of subjects and actions relating to one thought or topic. Put a bunch of those together and voila! a chapter is born! The next thing you know you've got a book on your hands.
Word issues. Naturally it's difficult for me to understand how a person wouldn't want to read. But I know these people exist. I know they function in societies. I know they are not oppressed or boring or stupid.
Many of these people strongly uphold the devout opinion that they'd rather live life than read about it. I understand and applaud that point of view. If they are indeed out there living life, then yes, I would agree to a certain point, anyway. I nearly married a person of that mindset. (Hold your comments for the end of the session and just go tut tut in the other room.) Oh be quiet. He can read. And he is interesting and smart and clever and very funny and conceptual and perceptive and thinks and has ideas and all the things one usually associates with people who read books. He is not a Neanderthallic boob.
I agree with the live life rather than read about it stance. But. There's only so much living you can do at a time. Most of us have to go to work. Most of us have to pay rent or the mortgage. We're living life, all right, but not exactly the interesting, adventure packed or thought provoking lives in books. Reading fills in the gaps while we're saving up for vacation or early retirement in Tibet. It also takes us away from the drudgery of every day life. No matter how exciting your job is, there are days which are just days, when it's just work and you go home bored and unfulfilled.
Books my friend. Books will set you free.
But. Is there danger in reading too much? Yikes. Listen to me. Of course you can't read too much. Or. Well. Maybe you can. If you happen to be hiding behind books (or blogs, ahem, is it hot in here?) there's nothing bad about that, except perhaps those books have become a surrogate, vicarious life. Oh sure, you're filled with ideas and concepts and ohmygosh wasn't chapter 179 brilliant?! But maybe instead of staying in and reading next weekend, a nice long walk (in some new shoes!) would be a good idea. Maybe while you're out there living life you'll notice something or ponder about something which will cause you to want to read up on the topic. Maybe you'll go to an art museum and a painting will catch your fancy and you'll go home and read up on the artist and discover other artists and paintings and the next thing you know you're reading books about pre-war German abstract expressionism and instead of going to Florida in February you're going to Germany on a Expressions in Expressionism tour and you meet a cute guy/girl on the tour and the next thing you know you're married and opening an art gallery featuring never before exhibited because they have been hidden for 60 years paintings and you'll be living life baby, living life!
I am purging my book and shoe collections, my new apartment is smaller and I will not have space to contain my current book and shoe troves. (I'm really going to miss that wall of built in shelves...) Moving is a painful, stressful process for this reason. Stuff must be purged. Things must be thrown away. Gotten rid of. Eliminated. I know there are books I won't miss. Titles hanging around on my shelves much longer than I should have allowed. Many of them were airplane reads. I travel a lot for work. I was in a very long distance relationship for a number of years. Long plane journeys have been a fact of my life for a long time. I cannot sleep on airplanes. So I read. And typically I forget to bring a book, so I buy one at the airport. Consequently I have acquired a lot of books I might not have normally purchased or read. I'm not embarrassed of these books, after all, they were right up there with all the other books on my shelves for anyone to see or borrow (or have).
But. Jurassic Park was a mildly interesting read at best. A bunch of years ago. I have not thought about the book or certainly referred to it since originally reading it. Ditto books by contemporary female authors deemed "important." Sorry Anita, Alice and Anne, girls, I respect your efforts, and other people love you and that's great. But. There is no room for you in my new apartment and you are more saleable on eBay than some of my other headier and obscure authors.
That's right, I'm pimping out my books on eBay. Or rather, I am attempting to pimp out my books on eBay.
I am learning the hard way, people don't buy books on eBay. I'm not trying to make money on them. I'm only trying to cover the cost of placing the auction and shipping. Give books a home rather than dump them in the community book nook at work where they will collect dust and never be read.
I have sold a few, for barely more than the cost of the auction posting. All to different people in Iowa and Ohio. Yes. Exclusively. Iowa and Ohio. And Iowa by a large margin has the higher number of bidders and purchasers. Maybe they don't have new or used book stores or libraries in Iowa.
I have also attempted to pimp some shoes on eBay. Some which I have never worn. Some which I have only worn once. I know, this is sort of gross, and I never would have attempted it if it weren't for my friends' prodding me. "Trill, you're getting rid of those?! Are you out of your mind? They're #!cking fabulous! If I could make them fit me I'd grab them so fast you wouldn't have time to regret getting rid of them! Put 'em on eBay."
So far all of the shoes I have posted on eBay have sold. For a lot of money. All of them have had more than one bidder. One auction got quite interesting in the last few minutes. And every pair of shoes I have sold has been purchased by different people in Texas. I've seen shoe stores in Texas. I know they sell shoes there. I know there are even some very trendy shoe boutiques in Austin. So why this eBay Texas shoe buying demograph?
Scarier still, to me, though, is the shoe:book selling ratio on eBay. I'm pretty much giving away books and no one except the literate people of Iowa and Ohio are even looking at the auctions. Shoes, however, are all getting viewed and bids. Could it be I have better shoes than books? Yikes. Another variable in the shoe:book ratio. No. I don't have stupid books. Well. I have a few stupid books. Maybe there's a correlation between certain authors and certain brands of shoes. Hmmm. I'll have to research this. But for now I'm okay with my personal shoe:book ratio. But I am worried about the shoe:book ratio of the rest of the world. Maybe there are more girls who have more style than substance. Maybe I should be more concerned about my bookishness. Maybe it's just a fluke, not indicative of anything.
Maybe I shouldn't worry about the world's shoe:book ratio and concern myself with my own and just stop buying so swutting many shoes, go out on Friday night instead of home to a book and a cat, and shut up about all of this. (I've finally updated 50 First Dates, by the way. Just in time for the holidays.)
Still, guys, do heed my advice regarding a woman's shoe:book ratio. That's some solid female insider advice.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
I haven’t been drinking much lately. Too busy/tired/apathetic/medicated to go out, much less go out drinking.
We had our company holiday party last night.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
When your prescribed medication states on the label: Use caution when using alcohol while taking this medication. Alcohol may increase side effects. They mean it. There isn't enough room on the bottle to clearly spell it all out for you. So let me translate that medical jargon for you: You’re taking this medication because you’re a sick, messed up individual. Do you honestly think you should be drinking in your condition? Look deep into your soul before you answer that. We’ve put this label on the bottle so that you will give pause to think about why you are taking this medication in the first place. If you’re feeling so bad that you need to take prescribed medication perhaps now is not the time to explore some of the new vodkas on the market. But since no one takes these labels seriously we know you won’t think about why you’re taking this medication. We know you’ll just pop your pill and run along to your party without a second thought. We’ll be right here waiting when you get home. If you get home, that is. THEN you’ll care about this label. THEN you’ll think about why you’re taking this medication in the first place. THEN you’ll be worrying about the side effects. THEN you’ll wonder if you should be operating heavy machinery. But THEN will be too late. You didn’t heed the warning clearly spelling out the cautions of mixing this medication with alcohol and now you will pay the price for your indolence. Increased intolerance to alcohol. Drowsiness. Nausea. Impaired vision. Impaired judgment. Impaired ability to use sane, safe logic. The makers of this drug will not be responsible for any job loss, death or pregnancy that results from mixing alcohol and this drug.
No, I didn’t get drunk and have unprotected sex with the guy in the mailroom. (or any sex, for that matter)
Nor did I make a copy of my bum (or any other body part). (My company smartly holds the party at a hotel where there are no copiers, faxes or email stations present.)
Nor did I participate in the karaoke korner.
No. All I did was have a few sips of wine which went straight to my chest and stomach, so I switched to a martini, a martini. One. Which I sipped for over an hour. And got really, really, really, really, really, really drunk.
Bad idea, that. Mixing alcohol and prescribed medications.
Because I left the party (early) thinking it would be the perfect time to head over United Center and drive the Zamboni. “Heavy equipment?! Bah! I’m going to drive the swutting Zamboni!”
What concerns me about this is, looking back on it through a hazy dream like cloud, no one at the party stopped me. No one thought it might not be a great idea. No one said, “Uh, Trill, I think maybe you’ve had a bit too much to drink. Why don’t I just get you in a cab so you can go home and have a nice rest.” No one even mentioned that the Blackhawks and the entire NHL are not playing and there would be no ice to Zamboni. No one asked if I knew how to drive a Zamboni.
Nothing except lots of laughs and encouragement, “Yeah, Trill, you should, that would be a riot.”
This is why I state: I have no friends at work. There are people I know. But not people I can trust. Not people who will prevent me from attempting something really stupid when I’ve clearly had too much to drink. Well. I mean. I hadn’t had too much to drink under normal circumstances. They couldn’t know that I’m heavily medicated and apparently shouldn’t even be in the same room with alcohol. Still. It must have been obvious I was not functioning normally. The sight of normally in control of herself Trillian in a less than in control of herself manner at the company party must have been such a novelty everyone was uncertain of how to handle the situation.
Clearly there was something not right, someone, someone in that crowd must have felt sorry for me or thought, “Trillian’s not acting normal. She hasn’t had that much to drink. This is more than just letting her hair down. Maybe this a sad cry for help.”
But no. No one did for me what I have done to countless numbers of people at this company and others. No one took on the role of caring sister looking out for the health, safety and employment of a colleague who has clearly had too much to drink or is having a personal situation in front of everyone.
No one. Not one person.
The few friends I have here were much more drunk than I was. (one sloppy tongued snog from a friend who is normally the most polite gentleman I have ever worked with and my friend’s demonstration of proper shirt lifting technique for a Motley Crüe concert confirmed that) So I’ll excuse them. They count on me to look after them and I was right down there with them. They were counting on me to stop them from saying or doing something unadvisable at the company party.
Because I am: Responsible and a good friend and a nice person who looks out for people and doesn’t judge or gossip about it. Protecting and defending reputations is apparently my thing at these functions. Valor Girl!
But Valor Girl left her cape and tights at home last night, along with her common sense and gray matter.
Instead, sloppy tongued snogs went unrebuffed. Pointers and critiques were given for optimal boob exposure while concert shirt lifting.
And then there was Valor Girl herself.
Who will save Valor Girl when she needs a Valor Girl herself?
Apparently no one.
Apparently Valor Girl is the only one who can save herself.
Fortunately it was windy and chilly last night. I sobered up enough to get a cab instead of walking to United Center. Fortunately there was a cab handy. Fortunately the cab driver didn’t understand “United Center” (he was going to take me to O’Hare thinking I was saying United Airlines. My speech was not slurred that badly, by the way.) Fortunately I live on the way to O’Hare and I said, just drop me here and he did. Fortunately I was only a few blocks from home.
Fortunately I had two lipsticks, a comb and my new tear gas canister in my little evening bag.
Fortunately there were no more dead things in my apartment.
Unfortunately I went online. The night was young (it seemed so late at the party...) I was semi-sober, or so I thought, I didn’t get to drive the Zamboni, so I trolled online. Chatrooms. IMs. Emails.
Okay, here we go,
Trillian’s Public Apology to Anyone She May Have Offended or Confused Last Night, December 8. To my friends old and new, I apologize. I did something really stupid, a momentary lapse of reason, if you will. I had a drink while taking medication which increases the effects of alcohol. By a lot. Intoxication is never an acceptable reason to offend or hurt anyone. I am not attempting to excuse my behavior or words. I am only apologizing. I truly did not mean anything I said, you are all really swell people and never in a million years would I want to offend or hurt any of you. I am so very sorry that a few of you got your first taste of IM Trillian last night and were probably perplexed and more than a little angry at what you read. I am evil, but not that kind of evil. If you were hurt, upset or otherwise offended by words I wrote to you last night, please email me and I will personally apologize to you.
If we engaged in any sort of cyber, well, anything, it was just a bit of fun, it was not intended as an open invitation to get into my actual pants and there will be no more Belle du Jouring around on my IMs.
If you saved the IMs or emails and are thinking they might be useful blackmail, shame on you. Know this: I don’t care. Blackmail me all you want. I’ve got nothing to hide, particularly not a girlfriend or wife or mother who would not be pleased to know you spent time online salaciously IMing with me.
I am sorry for this uncharacteristic behavior. It is not how I normally “let my hair down” and it was not “the real me” showing herself. I am not crazy, stupid or sleazy. I’m just really sorry that I might have hurt some of you. I apologize sincerely and from the bottom of my heart.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Why do I read the news feeds? Why, oh why do I do this to myself?
Something else to look forward to in my life. Born in May? Live in the Northern hemisphere? Scottish? Female? You're in the most likely group to develop MS with me! Woo hoo!!! Shall we reserve chairs together at the dining table in the nursing home?
Born in November? Have a nice long healthy life. Good for you. Maybe one of you November people will be so kind as to push me around in my wheelchair and feed me.
Oh, and hey, guess what?
Men and women are different.
Just thought you'd like to know. Startling but true scientific revelations about the sexes have been made.
On the other hand, taking a break from the news, Blog Jones kindly reminded me of one of the best sites on the net: www.despair.com
Hate Successories pithy crap? Love despair.com.
Not sure what to get your over seminared middle manager boss for the holiday gift swap? Despair's the place for you.
My favorite of the day is Individuality though BJ's favorite, Achievement is pretty swutting funny, too. I'm giving Motivation to Church Lady for the holiday gift swap. Because I am evil.
Guide says: Caution, if you work in a cube you might want to take precautions. Some of Despair's products may induce out loud laughing or at least chortling.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Yeah, I think it's time to move.
There are lots of negative aspects about my apartment.
But there are a lot of positive aspects, too.
I've been feeling a little melancholy about moving. Lots of memories here. Some really good times have been had here. And there are the physical aspects. Nice high ceilings. Cute architectural details. Lots of space. Alcoves. Pretty wood floors. Lots of windows. Window ledges.
It's the perfect cat apartment. Furry Creature has loved living here. Lots of space for a big cat to run and chase and play tag and lose toys and do summersaults and lots of corners to do fish tail wipe outs while running. Window ledges deep enough to comfortably sit and watch the activities outside, greet the occasional bird or squirrel visitor. Discreet and private box area. Mice to catch and present to the human.
Yes. Mice. After all the years we've lived here, never, not once, have we had any rodent issues. There was the bizarre fly incident of the Summer of 1999, the strange appearance in the entire building of flies for two days. Gross, but easily managed. Every now and then Furry Creature will find a spider.
But never any rodent mammals or avian.
Until 2:30 this morning. Furry Creature and I go to bed together, I read, he takes a bath. I try to sleep. He sleeps. I doze off. He wakes. And wants to play. The hours between 1:30 and 4:00 AM are prime play hours for cats.
So when I heard the 2:30 AM Kitten Frenzy taking place, I didn't think anything was unusual.
Imagine my surprise when I got up this morning, slid into my slippers, turned on the light, scuffed across the bedroom, go to kick/push the cat toys at Furry Creature for a little morning game of chase. Just before my slipper made contact with the toy my eyes focused and zeroed in on the toys and AAAAAEEEEEECCCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!
Frozen in space two inches from kicking the toys, I realized there were not one but two actual once living, breathing mice strategically placed in the bedroom doorway, Furry Creature sitting proudly behind them. Animals can't speak. Animals allegedly do not feel emotions the way humans do. I'm not one to overly anthropomorphize. I do believe animals have a system of emotions, but not human emotions. (I wonder what the word is for giving animal emotions to humans...technically it should be anthropomorphizing.)
By the look on his face, that darned cat was feeling something like pride over his kill and sat there waiting for me to get out of bed and show me what he'd done for me. He was grinning. If he could talk, if he did experience human emotions, he would be saying, "Good morning, Trillian. I trust you slept well. While you were resting there was a situation. I dealt with it and have brought you the intruders so that you may deal with them as you see fit. Might I suggest a tarragon and oregano based sauce in the slow cooker, yes, cook them very slowly, accompanied by a robust cabernet? Shall I make the preparations in the kitchen while you have your bath? Oh no, really, you don't have to thank me, just doing my job."
I'm not one of those girls who goes oooohh eeeeeeek ooooooh a mouse! a mouse! (bug/lizard/whatever) typically, if alive, I feel bad for the being and try to set it free. Spiders, bugs, anything. I am the one who emancipated the Giant Arachnid in the ladies room at my old office. I don't delight in these endeavors, there are other things I'd rather do, but, if a being who is normally outside finds its way inside, I put aside my human displeasure, put myself in the creature's wings/feelers/sucky feet, and do what I can to release it outside. This is not always a pleasant experience, great pains are taken to make no contact with the creature whatsoever, it is typically not a calm experience. It is usually swift.
But here we had two creatures who would not be scampering out back into the wilds of the streets of Chicago like Chip and Dale. I don't like dead things. Dead anything upsets me.
But. I live with a natural born killer.
Who was, after all, just doing his instinctive job.
As much as I would like to think my big, fluffy, bundle of purring fur and cuddles wouldn’t hurt anything or anyone, the fact is that he’s a cat. And on the food chain and evolution scale, cats are predators. You can tell by the positioning of their eyes. Front and center of their face. No need for side placed eyes, no need for defensive peripheral vision. That is if you notice their eyes while their fangs and claws are ripping and shredding and tossing and playing with you.
I can’t anthropomorphize my vegetarianism, pacifism and non-aggression onto my roommate who happens to be a different species than I. And a predatory natural born killer.
It bothers me to have the food chain and evolution chart come to life in my home. The natural history wing of the Field Museum does a fine job of that, I cannot and do not want to compete.
I am not naive. I know this about cats. I realize their instincts are to kill first and don’t ask questions later. My big bundle of furry purring love (there I go, anthropomorphizing again) will not only kill any intruder below him on the food chain, but he will “play” with it, torture it and make it suffer before killing it.
This should bother me. Because I’m not that sort of person. I do not condone this behavior in my species. I would not allow a human who exhibits this behavior in my home. I would call police if I saw a human doing what cats do. But because he’s a cat, and a big furry bundle of purr, I accept his genetic lot in life, excuse his proclivity to kill. I give him surrogate prey in the form of lots of toys he can stalk and hunt and take out his natural aggression. He gives me hours of entertainment and companionship and cuddles and kitty kisses. I know he is infinitely smarter than I am - his brain is at least 1/4 the size of mine, yet he is much more than 1/4 as clever. If my brain were the size of his I would be nonfunctional. Swut, as it is my brain is 75% larger than his and half the time I function more stupidly than he does. Give a cat a human sized brain and opposable thumbs and...
I see dead people.
I was standing there, slippered foot in mid air, reasoning all of this, trying to come to terms with my human empathy for the mice and my cat’s feline instinct to kill rodent intruders, when it occurred to me: How’d the mice get in here in the first place?
And: Are there more?
Insert: Squeal like a girl.
I am not proud of that. I am not afraid of mice. I don’t want them in my home, but I am not afraid of them. No, the squeal like a girl was because if there are more mice, the nocturnal killings will continue. My big bundle of purring fur will make it his personal business to see to the total annihilation of the rodent population.
“Life ain’t like Beatrix Potter, kid,” my big bundle of purring fur gruffly cracked at me. “Deal with it.”
I am very, very relieved that he did not bring them into the bed and drop them on my face while I slept, as he often does with his toy mice.
But there I was with two dead mice artistically arranged in my hall.
And a “proud” and “beaming” cat "lording" over them.
And the only thing between me and the void of life mice was a bunny slipper.
Oh the irony.
I’ve never had a mouse situation.
I’ve never had to deal with this crisis of spirit over the clash of species.
I’ve never had to remove void of life beings my roommate voided of life.
What’ a little murder among friends?
Of course the mice weren’t rich.
And my roommate’s of a non-human species.
And Ewan McGregor is nowhere to be seen. (Swut the luck, never a good looking, clever, sarcastic bloke around when you really need one.)
They went up there alive and came back down dead! Did you notice that? The difference, I mean: alive, dead, dead, alive, that sort of thing? It wasn't difficult to spot. He killed them both.
(and just because I can’t resist playing Tattoo Love Boy because it’s one of the best lines ever uttered on screen: “...when you sacrifice a goat and you rip its heart out with your bare hands, do you then summon hellfire? Or do you just send out for a pizza?”)
What to do with the bodies? I didn’t want to actually touch them. A) They’re dead and I don’t like beings which were once breathing and pumping blood but are no longer able to perform their life sustaining functions, and B) These are city mice, tough street mice. (well, obviously not as tough as they thought they were) They’ve probably got all sorts of diseases, I’ve heard about “clubs” where no questions are asked, it’s just a big cellar where open minded experimental rodents go to do things with other like minded rodents. C) They’re dead mice.
And my cat killed them.
Ewwwwwwwww. I slept with him! He cuddles and kisses me with those paws and that mouth! Not anymore.
Insert tinny muzak while Trillian leaps over dead mice, lunges to the bathroom and begins her day with a nice cleansing vomit.
Anyone care for tea?
Oh yeah. The mice.
Can’t just leave them there.
I donned the closest thing to a biohazard suit I have (poodle patterned pajamas, sweats, two pair of socks, my uncle’s New Foundland expedition parka, boot liners, hiking boots, two pair of gloves, sunglasses, ski face mask, knit cap securely holding pony tailed hair and tucked under it. Yeah. Regulation FEMA gear. Just call me FEMA Girl. After the holocaust it’ll be me and Donald Rumsfeld left to populate the world.)
Fortunately because I am in the midst of packing my entire life into boxes, I have lots of paper and long stiff things around the apartment.
I am not going into detail because what happened next is sort of a nauseous blur, but it was swift and let’s just say my soon to be ex neighbors will be talking about the freak who used to live next door long after I’m gone.
There was some reading of last rites, talk of bravery, spirit of adventure and courage, and a prayer for peaceful interspecies coexistence.
Even though I scrubbed the hall with every cleaner and disinfectant I have (including eye makeup remover, girls know this, I’ll enlighten the guys: Eye makeup remover will remove anything. Which concerns me in regard to the safety of using it on my eyes. But keep a bottle handy, it’s one of the best all purpose cleaners you can find.) But even after the scouring, every time I go past the place where they were sacrificed and artistically arranged for my assumed pleasure, I squirm and feel ill. (Too much Poe too early in life. Soon I'll be hearing little mouse sized heart beats.)
If I wasn’t already moving I’d have to move.
It makes me feel uncomfortable. It reminds me that I live with a predatory killer. It reminds me that my love all, accept all attitude does not extend to other species. Or even my own species.
Or men I date.
So it’s a good thing I’m moving. I want to rid myself of those uncomfortable reminders. Which makes me realize, along with all the good memories and fond times I’ve had in my apartment, there have been some not so good ones, too. The Holiday Mouse Massacre of 2004 will be near the top of the list, of course, but as I look around the apartment I can conjure other unpleasant memories in many other spots. Even eye makeup remover can’t remove some of those messes.